The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a weather hazard alert to all pilots and airline operators, indicating the hazards associated with rainy season in flight operations at this period of the year.
The regulatory authority said the alert was quite imperative at the outset of the rainy season which is usually accompanied with severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena such as turbulence, microburst, low level wind shear and hail events.
These weather variations are inimical to flight operations and are known to pose obvious threat to flights, NCAA explained.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, the agency said the advisory circular as approved by the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman- NCAA-AEROMET -25, is issued based on the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) released for the year 2018 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), which predicts March/ April and May/ June 2018 as the onset for rainy season in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria respectively.
â€œTherefore, pilots, operators and air traffic controllers should take note of their responsibilities as follows:
Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines, microburst or low level wind shear are observed or forecast by Nimet.
â€œFlight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima. Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by Nimet,â€ NCAA said.
The agency also said that â€œpilots/flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from Nimet Aerodrome Meteorological officer prior to flight operations;â€ so operators are therefore advised to ensure necessary measures are put in place to manage effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.
NCAA added that all stakeholders are required to ensure strict compliance with the circular as violations would be viewed seriously.